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04/19/2007


LGBT Voters Gave Obama Edge In 2012 Election

ObamareelectionPrior to the election, Gallup predicted that LGBT voters, overwhelmingly pro-Obama, had the potential to tip the election decisively in the president's favor.

Well, a new analysis of election data appears to validate that theory.

From a New York Times article called "Gay Voters Seen As Crucial In Obama's Victory" UPDATE: the article is now called "Gay Support Buoyed Obama":

Mr. Obama’s more than three-to-one edge in exit polls among the 5 percent of voters who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual was more than enough to give him the ultimate advantage, according to the study, by Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, in conjunction with Gallup. The results are consistent with earlier research on the size and political beliefs of gay voters.

...

As with Latinos and Asian-Americans, the number of voters who identify as gay appears to be growing. Only 1.9 percent of Americans over 65 identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, according to the Gallup survey, while 3.2 percent of those between 30 and 49 and 6.4 percent of those between 18 and 29 do.

Despite all evidence and reality, J. Hogan Gidley, a communications director for failed presidential candidate Rick Santorum, told the Times that the Republican Party can't move to the center on marriage because they'll lose die-hard conservatives.

"I think it would be a mistake for the party to abandon its moral values,” he said. He later reduced the debate to a battle of "buzzwords:" "We’ve lost the buzzword battle... that marriage is a 'right.'"

R. Clarke Cooper from the Log Cabin Republicans told the paper the GOP's platform is "a good plan," but is too often drowned out by "the cacophony and the noise that is perceived as anti-immigrant, or anti-L.G.B.T., or anti-women." So, basically the platform itself. [Correction: Cooper wrote in to say that he supports the GOP's small-government agenda, not the platform.]


Decision 2012: What Does It Mean for the Gay Republican?

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

The LGBT community played an outsized role in Tuesday's Democratic sweep. Constituting 5 percent of the electorate in 2012, the gay community went 77 percent to 23 percent for President Obama. If you do the math, the number of LGBT voters who chose to re-elect President Obama exceeded the margin of votes separating him and Mitt Romney. That means that our community delivered the election to the President.

Log-Cabin-Republicans-Rainbow-Elephant-300x265Eloquent commentators from Andrew Sullivan to Matt Yglesias have all seen this as part of a larger trend toward the emergence of a modern American electorate that is less white, more Hispanic, younger, and fairer than before. Their words are, as usual, worth a read.

There's more to the story, though. Both the increase in gay voting numbers and the increase in our already heavy Democratic tilt, together with a sweep of the four states voting on the freedom to marry and the elections of the openly gay candidates across the country, have a lot to say about the role of gay identity in modern politics. It is not simply, as Richard Socarides said, that today, supporting gay rights is no longer the albatross it was in the 1990s and, instead, is a banner to wear proudly. He's right, but that's too simple. Nor is it simply about gays being liberal. There are a lot of gay conservatives, but being conservative and voting Republican are two different things.

Our victories on Tuesday prove the hollowness of the gay Republican talking point that gay identity is tiny in politics. For all the talk that gay people want jobs, too, and for all the chatter about the economy being of supreme importance no matter who or how you love, the idea that our identity as gay persons does not mean that equal rights are more important to us than, say, our concerns about the debt is simply not true. Gay Republicans and gay conservatives risk irrelevance if they stick to the notion that "being gay is only a small part of who I am" and then proceed to endorse candidates who are anti-gay in the traditional sense. Being gay is who we are. It tints the way we see the world and how we interact with others. It informs our vote, as well. 

We need gay Republicans. We need them to talk with fellow Republicans, to teach them that gay people are good, moral, upstanding citizens, who love their country, each other, and their children. We need them to push their party's leadership away from "legitimate rape" and away from "it's wrong on paper" to a mainstream party -- like the Tories in England -- who support the freedom to marry not in spite of their conservative principles, but because of them. But, voting for a Republican who wants to rescind their rights because gay Republicans are more concerned with other things than being gay is at once wrong -- by all accounts, Mr. Romney's tax plan and proposals for spending trillions the military did not want would add to the debt and raise taxes on the middle class -- and foolish. No one will respect them until they respect themselves. 

This election showed that gay social identity is predominant in determining our political identity. If they ever hope to attract more of our community, even the conservative among us, to the Republican fold, gay Republicans should take heed, drop the canard that being gay doesn't matter, and embrace the importance of equality. 

I explain exactly what I mean, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Decision 2012: What Does It Mean for the Gay Republican?" »


Understanding Mitt Romney's Gay Politics Like 'Kremlinology'

FrostyRomneyWith the back-and-forth between Mitt Romney's campaign and the Log Cabin Republicans on ENDA and the gay group's endorsement of the GOP presidential hopeful, Ben Adler reminds readers of the essential truth about Romney's LGBT politics: they're contortionistic. Or, put another way, he's blowing smoke.

In an article at The Nation called "Romney Flails on Gay Rights", Adler writes, "Given how Romney is trying to carefully balance appeals to social moderates by presenting himself as opposed to discrimination without taking a stand on any actual legislation, figuring out his position on ENDA is turning into Kremlinology", the art of reading the USSR's Cold War policies.

The politics of gay rights are forcing Romney to perform these feats of contortion. Put broadly, his religious right base opposes civil rights for gays across the board, while a majority of the public supports them, except for marriage, on which the public is roughly evenly divided. As a general election candidate that makes Romney’s optimal position supportive of all gay rights except marriage. But that would alienate his base. (Since Romney has virtually no known actual principles on anything, the only relevant factors here are his political incentives.)

On a related note — Romney's relationship with a "minority" group, in this case women: the former Massachusetts governor has caught up with President Obama among that coveted group. The president once had a 16-point lead, but now Romney has 47% of likely female voters and Obama has only 45%.


Log Cabin Republican Leader Met Mitt Romney at Clandestine 15-Minute Meeting at Virginia Farmhouse

The Washington Blade's Chris Johnson has more on the meeting R. Clarke Cooper had with Romney that led to the Log Cabin Repubiicans' endorsement, and his non-promise of action on ENDA, which took place Oct. 17 at Greenwood Farm in Leesburg, VA:

CooperAccording to Cooper, the Romney campaign took the lead in initiating the meeting — not Log Cabin — after a series of discussions between the group and the campaign. Those in attendance at the meeting, which lasted about 15 minutes, were Romney, gay former U.S. House Rep. Jim Kolbe and Log Cabin staffer Casey Pick and a Romney staffer. Neither Cooper nor Kolbe would identify the campaign staffer who accompanied Romney.

Kolbe, a Log Cabin member who’s also a trustee of the organization, stopped short of saying Romney offered any firm commitments on federal workplace non-discrimination protections, but said they were discussed during the meeting.

“He gives us a firm personal view of opposing workplace discrimination without endorsing ENDA specifically,” Kolbe said. “I think that it’s an area of opportunity where we have an opportunity to make a lot of headway with him.”

Kolbe said he also brought up immigration issues affecting same-sex couples — such as the inability of gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency. Kolbe faces that problem with his own partner, Hector Alfonso. Kolbe said Romney acknowledged him by nodding, but offered no further response.

Cooper told Buzzfeed that there was no deal on ENDA to secure a Romney endorsement after Nation reporter Ben Adler suggested it in an article posted yesterday.

Cooper said this to Johnson: “I can say with confidence that the Romney administration would work on desirable outcomes for workplace non-discrimination. I’m going to leave it broad like that because I think there’s room for administrative action as well as legislative. I also think it’s probably fair to say that legislation in a form of an ENDA or an ENDA-like legislation is certainly realistic.”


Log Cabin Republicans: No Deal on ENDA for Romney Endorsement

Rclarke_cooperResponding to reports of a back room deal with Romney that he would support ENDA in exchange for the endorsement of the gay Republican group, Log Cabin Republican executive director R. Clarke Cooper tells Buzzfeed that there is no such deal:

Cooper acknowledged that he "discussed legislative vehicles and executive actions with Romney regarding workplace non-discrimination, including ENDA." But he insisted the endorsement did not come in response to a Romney campaign pledge to sign ENDA — noting, "I did not say Romney would sign the current form of ENDA."

He added that Log Cabin is "confident we could work with a President Romney and his administration to achieve desirable tangible outcomes on workplace nondiscrimination."


Did Romney Promise ENDA Support for Log Cabin Endorsement?

Today's endorsement of Mitt Romney by the Log Cabin Republicans included these two sentences:

LogcabinIf LGBT issues are a voter’s highest or only priority, then Governor Romney may not be that voter’s choice....With regard to the LGBT issue most likely to reach the president’s desk and most vital to many in our community today—workplace nondiscrimination—we are persuaded that we can work with a Romney administration to achieve a desirable outcome.

The language struck The Nation's Ben Adler as "nonsensical," he writes:

While it is legitimate for LCR to say that they care more about tax cuts than LGBT issues, how can they only acknowledge that Romney “may not” be the candidate for a voter whose only priority is gay rights? Shouldn’t that phrase be “would not”? And why is LCR persuaded they can work with Romney to pass a workplace nondiscrimination law?

Rclarke_cooperAdler called LCR's R. Clarke Cooper to find out, and after some questioning about Romney's positions on anti-discrimination legislation, gets to what he theorizes hooked LCR's 'qualified' endorsement:

As I continued to press this point, Cooper blurted out, “Have you met with Romney’s domestic policy team?” And therein lies the answer to how Romney secured LCR’s endorsement. His advisers have privately assured LCR that Romney supports ENDA, even though he so fears the wrath of the religious right that he will not adopt this position in public. (Although ENDA polls very well, major social conservative groups, such as the American Family Association, continue to oppose it and demand that Romney do the same.)

Given that Romney is a reflexive liar, the question then becomes why LCR chooses to believe Romney. For that, I have no answer other than wishful thinking on their part.


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